Last weekend might not have been that memorable to the majority of us but Lurgan man Shay Toman had been waiting all year for it, as Saturday night marked the 60th year of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Unlike some viewers, who might have chosen to tune in from the comfort of their sofas, Shay enjoyed Eurovision euphoria from the audience in Vienna, Austria.
“I have been a Eurovision superfan for as long as I can remember,” Shay said, “but it really took off in 1987 when Johnny Logan won with ‘Hold Me Now’. The campness, the excitement of the scoreboard, and the different languages and songs - I found it just compelling viewing.”
This was not the first time that Shay, who owns a variety of Subway franchises, has travelled far and wide to feed his passion for the multi-national music competition; his visit to Austria was his third purpose-built Eurovision holiday!
Thankfully, this year’s Eurovision didn’t disappoint - delivering the array of surprises and flamboyant costumes that has come to be expected. “The atmosphere was in keeping with the theme of this year’s Eurovision: building bridges,” Shay explained. “It was one big party. My favourite part was when last year’s winner, Conchita, told Russia’s entry that she deserved to be in the lead, after crowds had booed her. It was unfair to blame the singer for President Putin’s anti-gay measures, so it was very moving to see Conchita’s response.”
Shay placed his bets well, heading off more than £4,000 richer after making some savvy predictions:
“This was the closest race for a long time in the voting. I placed my bets last October and advised all my followers to bet online at the start of the voting on Saturday, as Sweden was the hot favourite. My winnings will cover my trip to Sweden for next year’s Eurovision!”